20 February, 2024

Svalbard, JW1ITS, in International WSPR Beacon Project

1000 spots over the last 2-3 days of reception.
Image from WSPR Rocks.
This month a new receiver station in the International WSPR Beacon Project was established near Longyearbyen, Svalbard. It is located at the Kjell Henriksen Observatory, at 520 m above sea level. This is a nice location for reception, but it is a tough place for outdoor antennas.

The receiver is an Airspy HF+ Discovery and software is running on a Raspberry Pi 4 and it is intended to run continuously 24/7. The receiver receives WSPR which was conceived by Nobel laureate Joe Taylor, K1JT. WSPR is run in a Coordinated band hopping schedule from 3.5 - 28 MHz, i.e. each frequency is received every 20 minutes.

11 February, 2024

Better accuracy for the Multi Face GPS Clock

Version 2.1.0 of the clock now implements interrupt-driven setting of the second. It needs the Pulse-per-second PPS output from a GPS for that. The result is that the clock is more accurate as it now changes seconds a few hundred milliseconds earlier and aligns perfectly with other clocks I have.

It is optional whether one wants to use this feature or not. If not, the PPS flag needs to be set to 0 in the Setup menu, otherwise the clock will wait indefinitely for a pulse that never comes. In the image to the right the PPS flag is set to "1".

08 February, 2024

My new HamClock

I finally got the hardware for the HamClock and installed the free software. It really looks like a labor of love on the part of its creator, Elwood Downey, WBØOEW.

I show the ISS footprint, for the occasional APRS signal from/to it, and DX cluster reports from zones near where I live.

26 December, 2023

10 bargraphs and progressbars for the LCD of the Arduino

I needed some progressbars and collected all the bars I could find and implemented them on an Arduino with 20x4 or 16x2 LCD. 

There is a total of 10 different bars and here are the two which are used in the upcoming version of the Multi face GPS Clock.

The main design principle is that no more than 8 custom characters should be required per bar. That means that the custom character set is uploaded just once for each bar, giving much less probability for wearing out the LCD character memory with its presumed finite limit on the number of write cycles. 

07 August, 2023

Multi Face GPS Clock ver 2.0 setup

Clock nerds may appreciate that my multi-face GPS Clock software has come in a major new software version, V2.0.0. The main novelty is that it allows a typical user to setup the clock without having to edit the Arduino software. Youtube video demonstrations are below.

First, the 24 screens of the Favorites subset (make sure to turn on subtitles): 

21 May, 2023

EA8/LA3ZA April 2023

This was a fun holiday operation from the island of Tenerife with 2.5 - 4 Watts running digital modes, mostly FT8 and some FT4 using a low-band and a high-band QDX.

The best bands were 30 m (29%) and in particular 10 m (65%) with a lot of contacts across the Atlantic ocean as the picture shows. In total 62 different entities/countries were contacted. 

QSL via Logbook of the World.

28 April, 2023

3 tips for not blowing the finals of the QDX transceiver

I have now used both the low- and the high-band QDXes daily as EA8/LA3ZA for a period of two weeks without destroying the four BS170 final transistors. Here are some procedures and tips.

But first, I do actually have experience in blowing the finals. That happended under testing prior to leaving, and all it took was 9.5 Volts for my 9 V build and what I thought was a dummy load, but which might have been an open circuit load. One BS170 developed a short between drain and gate with the result that 9.5 Volts was passed directly into the outputs of the driver IC5, 74ACT08, so IC5 blew as well.

My three tips for avoiding such failures are:

18 April, 2023

Clock cycles through chemical elements

The latest addition to the Multi-face GPS Clock is a clock face that for hour, minute, and second cycles through the corresponding chemical element in the periodic table. This is shown in the image to the right.

This is screen number 39 for this clock, all of them selectable by rotating a rotary encoder. The project, with Arduino Mega hardware and software is documented on Github, where the current release is v.1.6.0 (2023-04-14).

The display also shows  the full name for the element corresponding to the second, as shown above for element 3 which is Lithium. It is located in group (column) 1 and period (row) 2.